Rafael Nadal saved his biggest serve for his post-match press conference but listening to what the Spaniard had to say was too tough an ask for one poor member of the Melbourne Park press pack.

After defeating Australian James Duckworth 6-4 6-3 7-5 on Rod Laver Arena today, Nadal took aim at Novak Djokovic and other members of the ATP players council for plotting to oust ATP boss Chris Kermode.

But before Nadal started dropping bombs in the press room, he outed a journalist who appeared to already be overworked on the opening day of the year's first grand slam.

As the 32-year-old listened to a question from one reporter, he noticed someone else in the room who had drifted off to sleep and everyone burst out laughing as he pointed him out.

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"It's not interesting today," Nadal joked before the sleeping beauty was woken up by his colleagues in hysterics.

The pair had a brief, lighthearted exchange as Nadal helped the journalist build his defence case.

"You were closing your eyes to be more focused on what I am saying," Nadal said.

Tennis coach and ESPN analyst Brad Gilbert said on Twitter it was "so next level funny".

Nadal was in good spirits on his return to the biggest stage since August, after abdominal problems and ankle surgery ended his season early last year.

The Spainard also pulled out of a warm-up tournament in Brisbane last week with a minor thigh strain.

In his on-court interview after his straight-sets victory, Nadal said returning after being out for so long wasn't easy.

"It's not easy to come back after a lot of months, and especially against a player who's super aggressive.

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"I'm very, very happy to be through."